Broncos WR Stokley dealing with dad's death

Associated Press Modified: August 1, 2010 at 9:22 pm •  Published: August 1, 2010
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"If football causes me to have Alzheimer's early or dementia, I guess that's part of the gig. This is what I love to do and this is my job."

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PITCHING IN: Walking off the field after practice, rookie receiver Demaryius Thomas spotted pairs of shoulder pads from fellow wideouts laying on the grass.

He figured he'd better just grab them rather than risk some kind of wrath later on.

Thomas wasn't about to make the same mistake as Cowboys rookie receiver Dez Bryant, who was unaware of the rookie ritual of carrying a veteran's equipment after practice and refused to obey Roy Williams' request last week.

"No problems at all," Thomas said of carry the pads. "I'm just trying to get some respect."

The first-round pick missed the three days of workouts for rookies and players coming off injuries last week as he waited for his contract to be hashed out. He finally signed a five-year deal with more than $9 million in guarantees Saturday.

He said it was stressful waiting for the deal to get done.

"I was tired of waiting," Thomas said. "I just wanted to get out there and practice."

Typically, some of the focus at training camp falls on the highest pick. But with rookie quarterback Tim Tebow around, Thomas avoids some of that spotlight.

That's just fine with him.

"Everybody loves Tebow," said Thomas, who was taken three spots ahead of the Heisman Trophy winner. "So I have no pressure on me. ... Just go out there and play and try to get me a job."

And cart off the veterans' equipment.

"Brandon Lloyd left them on the field and I picked them up," Thomas said. "He didn't tell me to take them, I just picked them up."

Already, Thomas is a quick learner.

Starting quarterback Kyle Orton had said last week that he couldn't wait for Tebow to sign his contract so he could carry his shoulder pads off the field.

On Sunday morning, though, Orton left them on the grass in hopes Tebow would grab them. Tebow, however, took extra throws and then walked off without fetching Orton's equipment, which another player eventually gathered up.

In the evening session, Tebow did indeed carry Orton's shoulder pads.

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QUICK HITS: TE Daniel Graham toppled over the tackling sled in a drill, shoving it completely on its backside. ... Third-year WR Matthew Willis made a couple of sensational catches in the morning session, drawing loud ovations from the crowd and special mention from coach Josh McDaniels when asked if anyone had made a quick impression. ... LB D.J. Williams didn't practice in the evening session.

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